Now that I am done with New Goa, it was time to explore places and beaches in Old Goa. This time I went with my parents to celebrate their Marriage Anniversary.
The planning was done within 3 days and on a Saturday at 4.30 am, we started our journey from Pune. It took 11 hours (because we took break multiple times). We booked Ginger hotel which is situated at the heart of Panaji or Panjim, capital of Goa.
Earlier, the places I had been in Goa, are rural areas. Panaji and nearby localities are well urbanized and have all the government offices, schools, colleges and market places.
Note: Whenever you visit a place near ocean, either you have to start your day very early or you have to wait till the sun to set in order to avoid tanning.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: This is a familiar name to every bird enthusiast in India. The route towards sanctuary includes transportation through ferries from Ribandar Ferry Wharf to Chorao Island. It is advisable to go there as early in the morning as possible and if you are a bird lover, this place has a lot of bird species to offer from October to February. It is also advisable to take a guide and boat ride to discover the place in a better way instead of just walking in the sanctuary. Before you start your ride, please be sure about the cost and if needed, do not hesitate to negotiate.
Basilica of Bom Jesus: One of the UNESCO world heritage sites, Basilica of Bom Jesus is situated at a distance of 11 kilometers from our hotel. This church was made sacred in the year of 1605. One of the oldest churches in India attracts crowd because of the relics of the body of St. Francis Xavier, the co-founder of Society of Jesus, resides here. This is a must visit place in Goa.
SE Cathedral: SE Cathedral was built to celebrate victory of Portuguese army over Muslim army that led capture of Goa in 1510. It was dedicated to Saint Catherine. It is situated on the opposite side of the road that leads to Basilica of Bom Jesus. Archaeological Museum of Goa is also situated just behind SE Cathedral.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church: This church was situated at a distance of one kilometer from our hotel and I realized it when I started to roam around my hotel. The evening sky was coloring the background in dark blue when this church made in 1600 grabbed all the attention.
Note: As I was suggested, please wear appropriate clothes when entering these churches and cathedrals.
The beaches in new Goa have a different bohemian vibe. You can sit there hours after hours just by looking at the sea. In the evening you’ll find parties and loud music from the shacks. It is a little different when it comes to beaches in old Goa. You’ll find traffic, societies, buildings, shops near these beaches near the town.
Dona Paula Beach: Dona Paula Beach is situated 3.3 kilometers away from Miramar Beach. Dona Paula is named after Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior who was a woman of charity and worked for the poor villagers of Goa. After she passed away, Oddavell village was named after her. The sculptures seen here are of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Knox who were admired by sculptress and creator of the statues, Baroness Yrse Von Leistner. You have to walk almost a kilometer from the parking place. Unfortunately this place lacks cleanliness and always crowded with vendors and tourists.
Miramar Beach: Miramar beach is 3.3 kilometers away from Dona Paula. This place is crowded in the evening and several snacks-tea-ice cream sellers can be found here. You’ll find people who are coming for evening walk or boys playing football.
Cruise and Casino: Night life in this area is pretty exciting all because of casinos on cruise and Deltin Royale being India’s largest and most luxurious casino is one of the front runners in this business. The entry fee varies from Rs.2500/- to 8000/- based on the season. These cruises can be spotted very easily from the roads and bridge that connects old Goa to new Goa.
There are other beaches and churches that you can visit in Panaji but to be honest this place has nothing much to offer apart from above mentioned places and beaches. When you are visiting Goa, you can take out 1 day to visit Panaji and nearby beaches. I’ll be writing about main beaches of Goa in another post.